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California discourages needy from signing up for food stamps

first_imgWASHINGTON — It was not surprising that Texas held out.For years, Texas was among a handful of states that required every resident seeking help with grocery bills to first be fingerprinted, an exercise typically associated with criminals.Even though Gov. Rick Perry ultimately got rid of the policy, Texas – always seeking to whittle down “big government” – remains one of the most effective states at keeping its poor out of the giant federal food stamp program.But it is not No. 1. That distinction belongs to California.Liberal California discourages eligible people from signing up for food stamps at rates conservative activists elsewhere envy. Only about half the Californians qualified for help get it.That stands in contrast to other states, including some deeply Republican ones, that enroll 80 percent to 90 percent of those whose low incomes qualify them.That public policy paradox – one of the country’s most liberal states is the stingiest on one of the nation’s biggest benefit programs – has several causes, some intentional, some not. It also has two clear consequences: millions of Californians don’t get help, and the state leaves hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money on the table.last_img read more